“The kabalists say that a man is not dead when his body is entombed. Death is never sudden; for, according to Hermes, nothing goes in nature by violent transitions. Everything is gradual, and as it required a long and gradual development to produce the living human being, so time is required to completely withdraw vitality from the carcass. “Death can no more be an absolute end, than birth a real beginning. Birth proves the pre-existence of the being, as death proves immortality”, says the same French kabalist.
While implicitly believing in the restoration of the daughter of Jairus, the ruler of the synagogue, and in other Biblical miracles, well-educated Christians, who otherwise would feel indignant at being called superstitious, meet all such cases as that of Apollonius and the girl said by his biographer to have been recalled to life by him, with scornful skepticism.
Diogenes Laertius, who mentions a woman restored to life by Empedocles, is treated with no more respect; and the name of Pagan thaumaturgist, in the eyes of Christians, is but a synonym for impostor. Our scientists are at least one degree more rational; they embrace all Bible prophets and apostles, and the heathen miracle-doers in two categories of hallucinated fools, and deceitful tricksters.
But Christians and materialists might, with a very little effort on their part, show themselves fair and logical at the same time. To produce such a miracle, they have but to consent to understand what they read, and submit it to the unprejudiced criticism of their best judgment. Let us see how far it is possible.
“Setting aside the incredible fiction of Lazarus, we will select two cases: the ruler’s daughter, recalled to life by Jesus, and the Corinthian bride, resuscitated by Apollonius. In the former case, totally disregarding the significant expression of Jesus — “She is not dead but sleepeth”, the clergy force their god to become a breaker of his own laws and grant unjustly to one what he denies to all others, and with no better object in view than to produce a useless miracle.
In the second case, notwithstanding the words of the biographer of Apollonius, so plain and precise that there is not the slightest cause to misunderstand them, they charge Philostratus with deliberate imposture. Who could be fairer than he, who less open to the charge of mystification, when, in describing the resuscitation of the young girl by the Tyanian sage, in the presence of a large concourse of people, the biographer says, “she had seemed to die.”
In other words, he very clearly indicates a case of suspended animation; and then adds immediately, “as the rain fell very fast on the young girl”, while she was being carried to the pile, “with her face turned upwards, this, also, might have excited her senses.”
Does this not show most plainly that Philostratus saw no miracle in that resuscitation? Does it not rather imply, if anything, the great learning and skill of Apollonius, “who like Asclepiades had the merit of distinguishing at a glance between real and apparent death”? A resuscitation, after the soul and spirit have entirely separated from the body, and the last electric thread is severed, is as impossible as for a once disembodied spirit to reincarnate itself once more on this earth, except as described in previous chapters.
“A leaf, once fallen off, does not reattach itself to the branch”, says Eliphas Levi. “The caterpillar becomes a butterfly, but the butterfly does not again return to the grub. Nature closes the door behind all that passes, and pushes life forward. Forms pass, thought remains, and does not recall that which it has once exhausted.””
H. P. Blavatsky